Established in 1947, the HMI has become the world’s largest industrial technology fair. With 6,500 exhibitors and 225,000 visitors from all over the world, this technology show is profiting from digitization trends, the need for ever greater automation and industry 4.0 applications.
The interaction between man and machine is the determining theme of the HMI 2018, exemplified by this year’s official topic Connect & Collaborate.
Our Germany colleagues are on the ground at HMI providing us with updates and insights for those following from afar.
Here is a curated view…
Trends and Topics at the HMI 2018
A short overview of seven trends that define the HMI 2018:
They are balancing cars in the air and filling up beer kegs: robots are traditionally an eye-catcher in the exhibition halls. The sales figures are booming. According to the IFR, the number of robots sold last year has risen by 18 percent to 346,000. Especially small, sensitive collaborative robots are high in demand on the market.
2. 3D Printing
3D printing is being included in more and more industries. Initially, the technology was only used to produce individual prototypes but this has changed dramatically. Lower costs and a better understanding of the strengths of 3D printing have contributed to a massive influx of these machines, being included in the manufacturing processes of today.
3. IoT Platforms
Big data is the blood which fuels the smart factory. As machines gather more and more data and seamlessly send them to the cloud, data analytics enable optimizations of manufacturing operations and help develop new disruptive business models. Currently, there are about two dozen Internet-of-things (IoT) platforms, but experts expect a harsh consolidation. With ‘Mindsphere’ Siemens hopes to become one of the quasi-standards for the IoT world.
The technology enables industrial companies to document every step in the production chain in a fraud-resistant manner. “Smart contracts” can be closed via blockchain, which, for example, allows invoices to be paid partially in accordance with the delivery status. The industrial application of the blockchain is still in its infancy – but large corporations such as Shell, which recently acquired the London-based company Applied Blockchain, have high hopes for the technology.
5. The Smart Factory
Following IoT, digitization and Industry 4.0, Artificial intelligence is the ultimate buzzword at this year’s HMI. In recent years, companies have connected their production lines and factories. Now, it is important to gain new insights from the mined data – for example with the help of machine learning. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, 90 percent of industry managers want to use artificial intelligence over the next three years. However, almost 70 percent also state that their companies lack the skills to get it implemented quickly. A lot of IT companies that have a booth at the show are fighting hard to fill this gap.
6. IT Security
Feared but underestimated: Many machine manufacturers are aware of the danger of cyber-attacks, but do too little about it. This is demonstrated by a survey which was conducted by the industry association VDMA. Many companies operate with outdated protection, and in a lot of cases, the responsibility for IT security is not clearly regulated. Additionally, only 12 percent of companies have an insurance that cover damages caused by cyber-attacks. The HMI exhibitors approach the problem from different angles. Deutsche Telekom, for example, will present a marketplace for secure data exchange, called the “Telekom Data Intelligence Hub”. Moreover, several Fraunhofer Institutes (Biggest German scientific institutions) are at the show presenting the “Industrial Data Space”, where secure data exchange is the main topic.
Another focus lies on the preparation of electricity grids for e-mobility. “We are in the midst of two major changes: the industrial revolution and the energy revolution,” said ABB CEO Sami Atiya at the show. Amongst other new products, ABB is presenting an electric Formula E racing car. Eleven races are planned in cities across the globe– including Berlin on May 19. A new electric car charging module will be able to charge a car with a range of 300 kilometers within just twelve minutes.
First news from the floor
Notable public announcements from the show floor included KUKA.The major German robotics producer is showcasing some of the most modern cobots, which are specifically designed to work alongside humans. Additionally KUKA is launching the next step in intelligent production under the motto “industrial intelligence 4.0 beyond automation”.
Cisco shows how they can deliver the fundamental elements for manufacturers to improve business operations through Industry 4.0 applications while securing operational integrity, and intellectual property from the factory to the enterprise.
This year, Fujitsu focuses on Digital Manufacturing, implementing an IoT Infrastructure and Intelligent Mobility 2025.
Highlights from the show floor…
The Next Level of 3D Printing and the Healthy Factory
3D printing specialist Ultimaker revealed the latest expansion of its professional 3D printer portfolio – the Ultimaker S5. The future-ready 3D printer is fully optimized to fit seamlessly into existing workflows and delivers even more reliable results than before. It is suitable for printing functional prototypes, manufacturing tools and end-use parts. To improve accessibility to professional 3D printing and facilitate easier integration into any workflow, the Dutch-based company introduced the Tough PLA and Ultimaker App, which allows users stay conveniently connected with the print’s progress from a phone or tablet where ever they are.
In line with the increasing importance of A.I. in manufacturing, BISTel and Oracle preview a powerful A.I.-based Predictive Maintenance (PdM) solution for Smart Connected Factory. As equipment downtime and failures (due to defective or failing components) are a drag on productivity, quality, and profitability, PdM solutions determine the condition of equipment and processes to predict when maintenance should be performed. BISTel’s PdM solution on an Oracle cloud platform lets manufacturers perform real-time fault detection, uses big data analytics to quickly conduct root cause analysis and, thanks to advanced machine learning, now enables manufacturers to predict equipment faults before they occur. Plus, they even “self-heal” by conducting the required maintenance before any failures appear. The company’s new PdM solution will be available for customers in Q3FY18.
Intelligent Assistants for the Logistics Industry
Just-in-time production mandates that goods must be transported quickly, efficiently and without damage while simultaneously minimizing employee risk. Therefore, vehicles supporting drivers in their day-to-day work are the face of the future. With the Innovation Forklift, ZF takes on common challenges and combines existing electric driveline components with environmental sensors, such as advanced radar and camera systems. The technology features a rear-view monitoring system, warns the driver about obstructions or pedestrians in the danger zone and provides local navigation from the interior. Moreover, new driveline elements replace current ones to increase efficiency and enable automated operations. ZF also developed an A.I. processor (ZF ProAI processor), which allows vehicles to “understand” their environment by processing and interpreting it using sensor data with deep learning technology.